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Teen ‘Sexting’ Could Result In Criminal Charges, San Diego Police Say

Schools legally can’t access student’s personal devices, so San Diego police say it’s up to parents to monitor how minors are using phones, social media and the Internet.

Photo by JohnnyMrNinja

Photo credit: WikiMedia

Many teens don't realize the lasting danger of sending illicit photos, according to San Diego Police Officer Jordan Wells.

San Diego police have been investigating the exchange of explicit photos of classmates among dozens of San Diego County teens in recent weeks.

The San Diego Police Department will host a meeting at Cathedral Catholic High School on Thursday to talk with community members about teen sexting and the concerns it raises.

The investigation into students exchanging nude photos could result in criminal charges for some teens. Because the pictures are of minors, they are child pornography. Having them on a phone or forwarding them to someone else is a criminal offense.

SDPD is seeing more cases of local teens exchanging illegal photos, according to Officer Jordan Wells who is hosting the community meeting. But he said the recent case is the first to involve so many students.

“We can get a conversation going and get people willing to have that hard conversation with their kids," Wells said about the Thursday meeting and additional meetings he hopes to organize in the future. "Because they're exposed, they’re being harmed and damage is happening to our kids and we’re not reacting and we need to react.”

Teens don’t realize photos can wind up with strangers and haunt them into the college application and job-hunting years, Wells said.

Some studies estimate that about 10 percent of middle and high school students nationwide have been involved in exchanging illicit photos, or "sexting," in some way.

Wells said schools legally can’t access student’s personal devices, so it’s up to parents to monitor how kids are using phones, social media and the Internet.

Thursday's meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. in the Cathedral Catholic High School gymnasium at 5555 Del Mar Heights Road, San Diego.

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